Bangert: SABR member Bjarkman, Cuban baseball insider, is a Lafayette Yanqui

From Dave Bangert at the Lafayette (Indiana) Journal & Courier on June 12, 2016, on SABR member Peter C. Bjarkman:

After decades of positioning himself as an insider for Cuban baseball, Peter Bjarkman ought to be thrilled that the world is on the verge, with talk of opening the country like never before, of seeing firsthand what the retired Purdue University linguistics professor has come to know as a game so pure and fans so passionate that it is what he considers “a true alternative baseball universe.”

“You’d think that. And that’s the narrative you hear in all the talk about lifting the embargo and the rest of it,” Bjarkman said, prefacing the underlying theme to his latest book, “Cuba’s Baseball Defectors: The Inside Story” (Rowman & Littlefield).

“I think we’re seeing another story play out,” Bjarkman said last week over a bowl of cheddar ale soup at Lafayette Brewing Co. “This one is more like the end of an era.”

Yes, one of the foremost experts on Cuban baseball – at least of the English-speaking variety – lives in Lafayette, walking distance from Loeb Stadium in Columbian Park. He’s made dozens of trips to Cuba since 1997 – first to collect photos and stories for coffee table books, later to tell the story of Cuban baseball via

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Originally published: June 12, 2016. Last Updated: June 12, 2016.